A few weeks ago, I was honored to speak on a panel and workshop at the 70th Annual Education Writers Association National Seminar in Washington, DC, on social media and storytelling.
Since their founding, local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more — people from all walks of life, contributing to society in a myriad of ways. The neighborhood public school is often the center of a civic and cultural life, recognized as the key to each community's future.
Hair is an integral part of black cultural expression, but it has little to do with educational development, says John H. Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation. His response, highlighted in recent media reports, was a sharp dressing-down of a charter school in Malden, Mass., that disciplined African American girls who wore braided hair extensions to school.
From their establishment more than a century ago, local public schools and their educators have produced America’s most brilliant artists, scientists, doctors, musicians, lawyers, presidents, and more.
Rev. Dr. William Barber was presented with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Schott Foundation 25th Anniversary Awards Gala, and his acceptance speech brought the crowd to their feet and quickly went viral.
Watch his full speech below, and share the message with your friends:
In 1991, the Schott Foundation for Public Education launched with an overarching objective that we still work toward today: to develop and strengthen a broad-based movement for equity in education, ensuring that all children have an opportunity to learn. This is a look back at how we've made that happen and the impact we've had over time.
“Now more than ever before, philanthropy must apply a racial justice lens to its grantmaking and other community engagement efforts. And we must look inside our own walls to be sure we’re practicing what we preach,” said Edgar Villanueva, Schott Foundation vice-president of programs and advocacy.
Though hailed as a bipartisan “Christmas Miracle” when it was signed into law in December 2015, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA) was not an ideal bill—by far. It was not the bill most in the civil rights community wanted, nor was it the bill that many of us at the U.S. Department of Education wanted.
When events like the murders of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling or the violence against the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe rouse the nation's attention to structural inequalities, philanthropies that have the ability to create systems change often instead provide a ritualistic, intellectual response that's safe and comfortable. But to achieve the equity we all claim to be in search of, philanthropy must have a look in the mirror and lean into some very uncomfortable conversations about who we are, what we believe, and how we could adapt our approaches to new realities and environments.
One of the pleasures of working at the Schott Foundation for Public Education is that we have the opportunity to work with and learn from our grantee partners who do incredible grassroots organizing work all across the country. These public education advocates lead campaigns in their respective regions, but on March 15 and 16 leaders from 22 of our grantee partners convened together for our first Opportunity to Learn Network Communications Summit.